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The Importance of Lowering Cholesterol

National Cholesterol Education MonthLowering your cholesterol is important; increased cholesterol levels lead to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

Good and Bad Cholesteral
Cholesterol is divided into a “good” and “bad” portion.  Bad cholesterol, LDL, often deposits cholesterol in blood vessels.  Good cholesterol, HDL, helps bring cholesterol away from the blood vessel wall.  A total cholesterol under 200 with an LDL under 130 is a general goal.  Your doctor may set lower goals depending on other health problems.  HDL averages between 45-55 with a higher number being better. 

Treating High Cholesterol?
If your cholesterol is high, the first step of treatment is a diet with reduced saturated fat and cholesterol.  To reduce fat in your diet, try to limit red meats such as beef, pork, and veal while increasing chicken, turkey and fish consumption.  Try to eat baked or broiled foods and avoid fried foods.  Substitute low fat or fat free products for whole milk products. 

Successful diet modification is more likely if changes are made in gradual states that you can maintain and continue to improve upon.  Lowering your cholesterol may also involve weight loss, exercise, and control of diabetes and blood pressure.  Despite their best efforts, some people’s cholesterol may remain high and your medication may need to be used to lower your cholesterol. 

These medications can be discussed with your health car provider.  Even if you need to take medication, diet continues to play an important role in lowering your cholesterol.

(September, 2012)